Friday, January 5, 2018

Briefs from Jan. 3, 2018 Town of Pincher Creek Committee of the Whole meeting

  • Pincher Creek Committee of the Whole discuss snow clearing and curling rink
  • Water damage at Lebel Mansion
  • Snow removal progressing
  • Public consultation on curling rink deferred

Jonathan Skrimshire

Pincher Creek Committee of the Whole discuss snow clearing and curling rink

Town of Pincher Creek Committee of the Whole received an update report from Al Roth, Director of Operations, and a background summary report on the curling rink issue, prepared by the Community Services Department, at their meeting of January 3. The committee was apprised of a water damage incident at Lebel Mansion, discussed snow clearing operations and engaged in a brief exchange over the curling rink.

Water damage at Lebel Mansion

Roth reported a weather-related plumbing issue at Lebel Mansion. On January 1, the Town was advised of a water leak on the premises. As a result of the intense cold at the time - Environment Canada recorded a low of -39 degrees Celsius December 31 - the sprinkler system in the stairwell froze and ruptured. "There was quite a bit of water damage" said Roth, adding "it's been cleaned up and it's in the process of being repaired." In response to a follow-up email inquiry, Marie Everts, Economic Development Officer for the Town of Pincher Creek, indicated "some damage was sustained to the interior of the staircase" but "no long term effects are anticipated".

Snow removal progressing

In response to the recent heavy snowfall, town snow crews have been active every day, Roth reported. "We should have the entire town well under way and snow removal completed by the weekend", he said. Roth indicated the operations department currently has "three large pieces of equipment and three or four operators that run that equipment".

Responding to a question from Councillor Scott Korbett regarding what could be done in future to improve snow removal operations, Roth stated "in my opinion, I could use more people and more large, heavy equipment that we could utilize during snow removal". "To have two more pieces of equipment would be awesome", he said, "and I could probably use one more full-time person ... and a couple more trucks".

Snow removal policy is reviewed every year in August, Roth explained. "I believe that the community is growing, and expectations are growing, and we should be looking at some type of big review of not only the snow plowing season but also the way it's funded", he said. Roth indicated that he and his staff were formulating some alternatives to be discussed by the Operations Committee. The Committee will meet January 30th and report back to Council with options.

Public consultation on curling rink deferred

The committee received a lengthy background summary of the curling rink issue prepared by the Community Services Department. The department formally recommended "That the Committee of the Whole accept the Curling Rink facility background as information and that a public consultation session regarding the site of a new curling rink be held in March 2018 and that the Oldman River Regional Services Commission be requested to assist with planning for this session." The portion of the recommendation addressing the public consultation was rejected by the committee following objections from several Councillors.

Councillor Mark Barber, a member of the Facilities Planning Steering Committee, stated "I don't know that we want to have any timelines on it at this point as we don't have a package together yet." Councillor Wayne Elliott, also a member of the Facilities Committee, concurred, saying "To do it right, let's not rush it."

Councillor Brian McGillivray wanted any commitment deferred until after Council's strategic planning session, scheduled to take place January 11th and 12th. "We may have a change in priority of where we rank the significance of that curling rink in terms of the other initiatives that we'll be facing in the short and long term", he said.

Diane Burt Stuckey, Director of Community Services, asked committee members if they had any further feedback regarding the current site drawings. Councillor Sussanne O'Rourke stated firm opposition to the plan to site the rink on the field north of the Multi-Purpose Facility. "I would like to see those facilities somewhere else", she said, explaining that she does not agree with the arguments presented regarding the alleged importance of retaining the rink in the downtown core. A brief discussion ensued but was then curtailed by Mayor Don Anderberg.

The committee's examination of the curling rink issue ended with a motion to accept the background summary as information.

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